hOWS That Workin’ for Ya?
I’ve played a minor role in history. I participated in a sit-in once. I was in college at the time, and part of my financial aid package involved me working at the campus security office. It was a small office, and I had the good fortune of getting along fairly well with all of my co-workers, including my bosses.
One of the perks, besides being able to find out about all of the lurid things going on around the campus, was free soft-drinks. I lived on Diet Coke back then. I don’t think I drank a glass of water my entire four years of college.
One day, some brilliant person bought cases of Diet Pepsi to stock the security office fridge instead. There were three student workers, and two of us were outraged. We declared the third one to be apathetic and staged a sit-in on the floor of the Captain’s office. It was very uncomfortable. Luckily, we didn’t need a tent or sleeping bags. After fifteen minutes of this enormous pressure, “The Top 1%” gave in and promised never to commit such a heinous act again.
I learned some valuable lessons from this nonviolent protest. A. Having a sense of humor can diffuse potentially volatile situations (we were, after all, in the security office where there were guns and stuff) and 2. It’s easier to get what you want when you are specific. Next – infiltrate the system, so you can make change from within. IV – put the pressure on the person/people who might be motivated, and have the power, to do something about your complaint. E. Put a woman in charge.
The Occupy Wall Street protesters seem to get A. Maybe a little too well.
I’m not sure they’ve really considered number 2, though. (Speaking of number two, who organizes a months long protest without taking the bathroom facilities into account – not a woman, I’m pretty sure.) As for the Next criteria, maybe some of their celebrity friends can help infiltrate the system. And IV – well, the best example of this would be one of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize winners, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. In the bid to stop oppression in Liberia, particularly of women, she led a massive protest in which the primary weapon was the withholding of sex. Yep. You read that right. Which leads me back to E.
Not that I’m trying to give anyone any ideas.